The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned 19 chemicals from antibacterial soap products, including the most commonly used ingredients — triclosan and triclocarban, according to a new final ruling.
Why antibacterial soaps will be going away soon
The FDA said the soap industry was unable to prove the ingredients were safe for long-term daily use and more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of infections.
The ruling doesn’t apply to hand sanitizers or wipes, or antibacterial products used in health care settings.
“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” the FDA said in a news release. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
Since the FDA first proposed this rule in 2013, manufacturers have already started phasing out the use of ingredients like triclosan and triclocarban in antibacterial washes.
Manufacturers will have one year to remove the products from the market or reformulate them.
To avoid getting sick, health experts say washing with plain soap and water is crucial. If you don’t have soap and water around, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
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